AT SMART Reading, our goal is to positively impact literacy outcomes during the reading process by providing early reading support, access to books, and community engagement in a fun, inclusive environment for everyone involved. One of the primary ways we do that for readers is through facilitating shared reading opportunities – kids and volunteers reading together with the goal of building reading skills, engagement, and motivation, two key factors in literacy development. 

Classroom SMART is a new shared reading model developed during the COVID-19 pandemic that allows classrooms to take advantage of the benefits of shared reading. Classroom SMART pairs a volunteer with a classroom of students for regular interactive group read-alouds, either virtually or in-person. These shared reading sessions with a “special guest” volunteer are designed to build excitement and enthusiasm for reading. 

Students in participating classrooms also choose two books per month to keep and read with their families.

What are the benefits? 

  • Entire classrooms can participate in the shared reading experiences, and “special guest” volunteers make reading and story time an exciting event for students
  • Flexible scheduling means teachers can select the time that works best for their schedule and incorporate it into their lesson plans 
  • Access to books—each student chooses up to two books to keep each month, increasing literacy opportunities for each child outside the classroom
  • Increased engagement—kids are more likely to finish the books they take home when they get to pick them out themselves
  • Greater connection between community volunteers and schools

What are the outcomes of this reading process?

  • 97% of educators report that Classroom SMART contributed to reading enjoyment for their students
  • 93% of educators report that Classroom SMART contributed to reading motivation for their students
  • In 97% of Classroom SMART sessions, students are engaged in the read-aloud

What do educators say about these shared reading experiences?

“The whole class SMART visit was so successful today! The students were engaged, motivated and thrilled by the read aloud and gift of two books! I was blown away by the conversations the guest had with the students about the vocabulary in the read aloud. These vocabulary lessons are EXACTLY what our students need to build literacy awareness this year.”

          – Teacher, Multnomah County